Secretary Balisacan visits AFI to talk about job creation

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan visited Ayala Foundation on May 8 for an interactive session on job creation. Balisacan, who also serves as director general of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), unveiled the national government’s action agenda for job creation.

This session is in keeping with the foundation’s commitment to Sustainable Livelihood, one of its program pillars. Through Sustainable Livelihood, Ayala Foundation and its partners hope to find ways for households in program communities to have gainful employment and diversified income sources.

While the country has registered significant and sustained economic growth in the past few years, many experts have pointed to certain factors that may compromise this growth. One such factor is the high unemployment rate in the country.

Balisacan identified four reasons behind the continued high rate of unemployment–insufficient employment opportunities, high underemployment in the agricultural sector, low employability of new applicants, and the lack of safety nets in the event of unanticipated shocks to employment and income.

Given this, the national government has drawn up an action agenda that will guide efforts to address the problem of unemployment and underemployment. The agenda covers six areas–expanding employment opportunities; promoting priority sectors for inclusive growth (such as BPO jobs in next-wave cities, public housing programs, tourism, and others); addressing underemployment in agriculture; providing training for new job entrants; using public employment programs as a cushion against income shorts; providing universal coverage for social protection (which may come in the form of unemployment insurance).

Balisacan, however, stressed that for any of these efforts to be truly effective and sustainable, the private sector must play an active role in job creation. “Government actions should not substitute for the actions of the private sector,” said Balisacan. “The private sector holds the key to the generation of high-quality and sustainable jobs that our country needs. A stronger coordination of the government and the academe with them will help us address the unemployment problem that the country is facing.”

Balisacan was welcomed by Ayala Foundation President Luli Heras-de Leon and AFI trustee and LiveIt Investments CEO Alfredo Ayala. Also present at the sharing session held at the Ayala Museum were representatives from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), NEDA, eSkills Network, SMDS Multipurpose Cooperative, StreetYouth Project, LiveIt Investments, BPI Foundation, and Ayala Foundation.

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